Faster, safer mooring for the world’s biggest ships – all thanks to Dyneema®-based mooring ropes. That’s the reality enjoyed by COSCO, whose vessel the COSPEARL LAKE used the same 22 mooring lines for more than 10 years, even as it logged 11,200 mooring hours on its voyages around the world.

Synthetic ropes made with Dyneema® SK78 fiber have proven to be a game-changer for COSCO, far exceeding the five-year average lifetime of steel wire ropes. In breaking tests conducted in 2018, the COSPEARL LAKE’s mooring lines retained 87% of their original 130-ton strength more than a decade after they were first installed on the vessel.

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A decade of delivering

The story starts back in 2006, when COSCO Dalian changed its way of working on board its 300,000-ton very large crude carriers (VLCCs). Steel wire ropes had been the industry standard for decades, but COSCO decided to take two mooring lines made with Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™, for an eight-month trial run at sea.

The trial was such a success that in September 2007, COSCO kitted out its newest VLCC – the COSPEARL LAKE – with a complete set of 22 Dyneema®-based mooring lines. In fact, this made it the world’s first-ever VLCC to be 100% equipped with mooring ropes containing Dyneema® fiber.

Over 10 years, lines made with Dyneema® fiber have exceeded our expectations, bringing clear benefits in lifetime performance, efficiency, and safety. We’re delighted to extend our relationship with our partner Avient and to use mooring ropes made with Dyneema® SK78 fiber on even more oil tankers.

Zhao Jin Wen, Vice President of COSCO Shipping Energy

Dyneema® enables faster and more profitable operations

The recent trend for larger VLCCs has led to a corresponding need for stronger mooring lines. With conventional steel lines, each rope would reach 2.46 tons, with a unit weight of 8.8 kg/m. More weight would require more man hours for mooring and create more difficulties in handling.

That’s where the lines installed on the COSPEARL LAKE came into their own. A mooring line made with Dyneema® fiber only weighs 0.35 tons, just one-seventh as much as a steel line of the same strength. Thanks to the exceptional strength-to-weight ratio of mooring lines made with Dyneema® fiber, the average docking time for the COSPEARL LAKE was a mere 70 minutes – much less than the average four hours that would have been needed with steel wire rope. What’s more, handling heavy, greasy steel lines is much more time consuming for crew, requiring more preparation time before mooring. Using lines made with Dyneema® simplifies this process, allowing crew to simply pull the ropes out from the winch and start docking straight away.

All in all, that’s a lot of time saved over the years – allowing the COSPEARL LAKE to spend more hours on the high seas and fewer hours stuck in port. The Dyneema®-based mooring ropes therefore play a direct role in helping COSCO achieve more profitable operations.

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Stronger on safety

As well as freeing up valuable time, the mooring lines made with Dyneema® fiber are safer to use for the various ship and port personnel involved in mooring. Because they’re lightweight, soft, and flexible, Dyneema®-based ropes are very safe for crew to handle. To date, there hasn’t been a single hand, wrist, or back injury due to handling these mooring lines on the COSPEARL LAKE.

What’s more, with the COSPEARL LAKE plying seaways and oil-loading terminals in the high temperatures of the Middle East, efficiency is important for crew health. “Working in extreme weather conditions with heavy and cumbersome mooring lines can be challenging for even the most experienced crew, making fast and efficient docking absolutely essential,” says Jorn Boesten, Segment Manager Maritime for Dyneema®.

Contributing to cleaner seas

Unlike steel wire alternatives, mooring lines made with Dyneema® fiber don’t need grease or other lubrication. Not only does this eliminate the need for crew to clean the decks and other polluted parts of the vessel, saving yet more time, but it also reduces the chances of slips and injury on slippery decks. As if that wasn’t enough, cutting out the need for lubricants and associated cleaning products decreases the quantity of pollutants entering the ocean, helping to ensure the COSPEARL LAKE complies with ever-stricter environmental regulations.

We’re very proud of our partnership with COSCO. The relationship was forged in the success of the original trial and the installation of Dyneema®-based mooring ropes onboard the COSPEARL LAKE back in 2007 – and it’s testament to both our Dyneema® technology and COSCO’s application of it that the mooring ropes continued to perform so well for so long. We hope to continue delivering outstanding performance for COSCO vessels for many more years.

Bastiaan de Koning, Global Segment Director, Dyneema®

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A strong case: Why choose mooring ropes made with Dyneema® fiber?

Not only is Dyneema® the world’s strongest fiber ™, but it also delivers multiple valuable benefits over a long service lifetime.

  • Minimal loss of performance: after 10 years in action, breaking tests on the COSPEARL LAKE’s spring lines showed a residual strength of 114 tons, 87% of their original 130-ton strength.    

  • Seven times lighter: mooring ropes made with Dyneema® fiber are seven times lighter than steel wire ropes of the same strength and diameter.     

  • Much faster docking: ropes made with Dyneema® fiber cut the vessel’s docking times from an average of four hours to just 70 minutes.

  • Improved health and safety: because mooring ropes made with Dyneema® are lightweight, soft, and flexible, there have been no reported line-related hand, wrist, or back injuries on the COSPEARL LAKE.

  • Better for the environment: unlike steel wire alternatives, ropes made with Dyneema® fiber don’t need grease, lubricants, or associated cleaning products, which helps to limit pollutants entering the ocean.

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